Frith, C.B., and D. W. Frith. The Bowerbirds: Ptilonorhynchidae. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Gilliard, E.T. Birds of Paradise and Bower Birds. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1969.

Marshall, A.J. Bower-birds, Their Displays and Breeding Cycles— A Preliminary Statement. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1954.

Schodde, R., and I. J. Mason. The Directory of Australian Birds, Passerines. Melbourne: CSIRO, 1999.


Borgia, G. "Why Do Bowerbirds Build Bowers?" American Scientist 83 (1995): 541-547.

Dwyer, P., M. Minnegal, and J. Thomson. "Odds and Ends, Bower Birds as Taphonomic Agents." Australian Archaeology 21 (1985): 1-10.

Frith, C.B., and D.W. Frith. "Biometrics of the Bowerbirds (Aves: Ptilonorhynchidae): with Observations on Species Limits, Sexual Dimorphism, Intraspecific Variation and Vernacular Nomenclature." Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 24 (2001): 512-542.

Madden, J. "Sex, Bowers and Brains." Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B268 (2001): 833-838.


Birds Australia. 415 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn East, Victoria 3123 Australia. Phone: +61 3 9882 2622. Fax: +61 3 9882 2677. E-mail: [email protected] Web site: <>

Clifford B. Frith, PhD Dawn W. Frith, PhD

Birds of paradise


Class Aves Order Passeriformes Suborder Passeri (Oscines) Family Paradisaeidae

Thumbnail description

Small to very large, powerfully footed, highly animated, and vocal crow-like passerines, most of which are sexually dichromatic. Highly colorful and elaborated, adult male plumages of polygynous species are used in spectacular and complex courtship displays.

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6.3-43.3 in (16-110 cm); 0.11-1 lb (50-450 g)

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Number of genera, species

17 genera; 42 species

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Lowland to subalpine rainforests and some associated forests and wet woodland communities


Conservation status

Vulnerable: 4 species; Near Threatened: 8 species


Mainland New Guinea and offshore islands, the northern Moluccas of Indonesia, and northeastern and central eastern Australia

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